Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
Playing and exploring outdoors can improve a child’s overall health and wellbeing. But not all children and families have access to nature. Racism, economic inequality, and lack of awareness are some of the barriers that impact nature contact for children.
Project Nature aims to break down these barriers and connect all children with better health. We seek to engage children early in life with advice and tools from health professionals in the clinic and resources online. Project Nature also conducts public health research projects to more fully understand the health benefits of nature contact and deepen its knowledge of conditions that hold families back.
What is Project Nature?
Backed by pediatricians, Project Nature empowers families and child caregivers to explore nature with children, with a goal to reach families with the most barriers and greatest need.
Our approach includes:
Tools for outdoor play and exploration and information physicians can share in wellchild visits to help parents and caregivers familiarize kids with nature and build excitement for the outdoors.
Web-based resources such as outdoor places and resources, helping parents and caregivers discover nature across Washington and just outside their doors.
Social media engagement for parents, caregivers and Project Nature partners to share information and build community.
Project Nature gathers research to help support this work and spread the benefits for children through its network of partners.
Project Nature is an initiative of BestStart Washington. BestStart Washington, founded and led by Washington state pediatricians, gives children their best start toward lifelong success and resilience by working to improve their physical health, emotional wellbeing and academic achievement. BestStart Washington collaborates with community pediatricians, families and other partners to develop and fund innovative programs that give children the best possible start on healthy and productive lives.
BestStart pediatrician leaders believe in emerging research showing the health benefits of nature for children. Through years of providing patient care, BestStart leadership felt a call to action and created ProjectNature from their strong desire to make nature an important aspect of a child’s best start.